Roost Vans – Sprinter Van Conversion

In which CreatID takes DIY to the extreme, using every skill we have, along with a few new ones….

One of the best ways to learn how to serve clients needs better is to become your own. In this case, CreatID became both dreamer, and creative problem-solver, managing and developing a sizeable project from fantastical musing, through concept development, design engineering, installation and assembly – all the way through to business development with marketing and process streamlining. We learned from the inside out what our clients need in any endeavor that begins with a sketch and ends with a product in the marketplace – and managed to dust off and refine every tool in our extensive toolbox along the way.

CHALLENGE

In 2017, my wife and I imagined traveling extensively with our one-year-old and knew it was time to leave our usual rough-n-ready default (motorcycles, backpacks, and tent) behind. And let’s face it – we’re not RV people, we told ourselves – whatever that means. And, well, we had the added challenge of just not being able to do this the easy way.  We decided to design and build a family-adventure-friendly experience that was sleek, warm, intelligent and natural.  What could be more sensible?

With the intriguing arrival of Sprinter Vans, we decided upon a class B Mercedes Sprinter, with a slightly longer wheelbase platform: enough to safely transport 4-5 passengers, and still fit a queen bed and kitchen. Crucially, it needed room for solar power, our mountain bikes, cupboards and storage for all our gear, and have a full range of utility and flexibility for every kind of storage. Nothing would be so built-in it couldn’t be easily rearranged or removed – in short, a completely modular, custom AND customizable solution.

SOLUTION

Planning planning planning.  To work around our aesthetic and tangible performance criteria of feeling both spacious and homey, while maintaining maximized utility, we needed to go to the drawing board.  After everything was defined and wishlists sorted, we were able to tap CreatID’s 20+ years of SolidWorks 3D CAD experience to neatly lay out the cabinetry design and fit in electronic, propane, and plumbing systems. In such a tight space, every inch counted.

When you get a new van, it looks daunting and incomplete. And we knew there was a long way to go to get where we wanted to be. So, no time was wasted stripping it down to run new wiring and thermal and acoustic insulation throughout. We installed a unique rail system that would give us the flexible foundation to mount our custom cabinetry and bed system – it’s discreet quality allows the wood paneling to define the van’s inner character. So even when empty, it takes on a homey quality you won’t find with typical RV or adventure builds.

The goal was far more than cabinet placement, however – and CreatID brought many skills, vendors, and systems in the van to function cohesively together. The combination of all these skills and vendors in one project generated a custom one-off build with a high level of fit, finish, and function. Sketching, 3D CAD design, CNC Cabinetmaking, electronic sourcing design and layout, mechanical engineering and industrial design were only a few of these skills CreatID offers their clients. You can check out the detailed build in our blog at the links below.

From Product to Business

More than designing and integrating a system or two, we created a foothold in the Sprinter Conversion community, and with that came business opportunity. Our dreams were well documented in our blog posts, and soon we were in conversation with others who wanted our cabinets – leading down new avenues of prototyping and development as well as product support and instructions for installation. As further requests came in for help with custom builds, we launched another company to satisfy those needs, Roostvans.com.

Feedback

Part of all design process should include a ‘feedback loop’—real input from real users. We’ve received this through GoCamp Rentals where you can find our van’s profile ‘Obsidian’, and a few great photos. Obsidian has been tested, reworked, and approved based on renters and their experience. All good design is meticulous to the last detail, and with input from our users, we can make sure that all the systems are understandable and intuitive. By becoming our own clients and maintaining a continuous relationship to the van’s development, we’ve advanced our design skills to a greater depth than ever before.

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